Rob Minto

Sport, data, ideas

Tag: Google trends

4 things Google Trends tells us about the Super Bowl and the NFL

American Football’s imminent death has been greatly exaggerated – for now, at least. Super Bowl XLIX was the most-watched event in US TV history; and if Google Trends are anything to go by, it was a wildly popular event online too.

Here are a few things that leap out of the data:

1) Controversy sells

Deflategate – the inevitable name for the scandal over the low-pressure balls used in the Patriots’ play-off game – clearly wasn’t a turn off. Domestic abuse scandals from earlier in the season might have been, but for whatever reason, that hasn’t hampered viewing figures.

2) This is a step change in interest

Look at the Google trends data from 2004 to 2014 for the search term “Super Bowl”, worldwide, pre 2015:

google_trends_super_bowl_ww_pre2015

As you would expect, interest – as measured by Google’s collection of Super Bowl related searches – spikes around the time of the big game each year, but going from peak to peak, interest was relatively flat. Searches from 2014 (scoring 100) were a bit higher than 2013 (86), which were down from 2012 and 2011 (92).

Now look at the worldwide chart including the Super Bowl just gone:

google_trends_super_bowl_ww

That’s quite some spike. Unless the data is going to be revised in the next few days, it looks like this year’s Super Bowl was a huge online event.

3) If the NFL is going to set up an overseas team, London shouldn’t be a shoo-in

London got three NFL games this year, and talk of a London NFL franchise has been kicking around for a while. But the NFL does have other options: Canada, Mexico and Germany have all been mentioned at one time or other.

So let’s compare the interest (as measured by Super Bowl searches) in those four locations over the past five years, which is roughly when serious talk of overseas teams started. We can’t drill down just to London, so the UK will have to do as a comparison. (Aside: when you isolate the data to England, the town that comes out top is Altrincham, followed by London. I have no idea why.)

google_trends_super_bowl_4_countries

There’s a big recent spike, but for the recent Super Bowl, the countries score like this: Canada, 100; Mexico, 74; Germany, 38; UK, 19. Where would you go?

4) Brits don’t know if it’s one word or two

Superbowl or Super Bowl? Re-run the chart above with the incorrect one-word spelling, and the UK (with 26) leapfrogs over Germany and Mexico (both on 20). Canada is still top, but overall, Canadians do know it’s two words by a score of 100 to 70. Germans do even better, scoring 100 to 35.

The Brits, however, get it wrong more than they get it right: Google Trends shows “Superbowl” scores 100 in the UK compared to “Super Bowl” with 90. Clearly there’s still a lot of marketing work to do in the UK.

UPDATE: I have amended the Google Trends numbers for the 4 country comparison with the latest data.

The royal baby: is the US that interested?

Any piece about the interest around the world in the new royal baby, now named as George, invariably asks why the US cares so much about the UK royal family.

But if web searching is any guide, the US is way less interested than we think. Google trends regional results for the search term “royal baby” show that the US is down in 8th place, behind Italy, for relative search volumes in the last week.

The UK is top, as you would expect. But the rest of that top ten I would not have guessed. Some of the Commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada) – maybe. But Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland in the top 10? Nah.

Here’s the chart:

Top regions for “royal baby”  Search volume
United Kingdom 100
New Zealand 68
Ireland 64
Canada 61
Australia 55
South Africa 50
Italy 46
United States 44
Singapore 18
Switzerland 16

Tucker vs Carney: the picture from Google

This is what a surprise looks like:

Background: Mark Carney is appointed Governor of the Bank of England ahead of bookies favourite Paul Tucker.

As the news breaks, you can see Google searches for Mark Carney in the UK shoot up from nowhere.

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